Joel David Moore will reprise his role in James Cameron’s upcoming Avatar sequels. The films have been in limbo since 2009, when the franchise’s first installment set an all-time box office record of $2.7 billion. Since then, the projects have been marred by interminable delays, largely due to Cameron’s ambitious vision: he’s filming all four back-to-back, and has been aiming for an elaborate post-production process that could eliminate the use of glasses for 3D filmmaking.
Avatar 2 was originally set for 2014, then 2018, but was pushed back yet again several months ago. In April, Cameron upped the release dates to a planned roll out from 2020 to 2025, and now, it seems, things have finally begun to take shape. Zoe Saldana confirmed to Screen Rant that the team begins shooting this summer, and Fear the Walking Dead‘s Cliff Curtis was announced as a new cast member earlier this month.
Now, Deadline reports Moore has officially signed on to return, joining fellow stars Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, and Saldana. For those that need a refresher — it has been eight years — Moore plays Dr. Norm Spellman, an anthropologist working in the Avatar Program who becomes close with Jake Sully (Worthington). He was also one of the few humans allowed to remain in Pandora following the human-Na’vi battle, though it’s unclear if he had his consciousness uploaded to his avatar body, like Jake.
Moore, for his part, has remained active in the industry. Among his other credits are Stephen Gyllenhaal’s Grassroots (2011), Oliver Stone’s Savages (2012), and Jason Bourque-directed thriller Drone, which hit theaters last Friday. He’s also currently in development on the drug crime TV series Sunburn, which he’ll executive produce, and is set to direct upcoming Shakespeare adaptation Timon of Athens.
As for the sequels, few details are known about what direction they might take. Cameron announced in 2013 that part two would take place underwater, and more recently, Worthington revealed that there will be a focus on Jake’s family dynamic, which would align with the lengthy gap between films. Beyond that, specifics have been scarce, but viewers will just have to trust that Cameron has a handle on the story. He’s built a reputation as a bold and meticulous filmmaker, and with a track record like his, it’s hard to doubt him — even if it has taken an arduous, painstaking wait.
Avatar 2 is scheduled for release onDecember 18, 2020, Avatar 3 on December 17, 2021, Avatar 4 on December 20, 2024, and Avatar 5 on December 19, 2025.